Frank Cable hosts former sailors and families

by Petty Officer 2nd Class Allen McNair
USS Frank Cable (AS 40)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The submarine-tender USS Frank Cable (As 40) is 38 years old and one of the oldest commissioned ships in the U.S. Navy. Known to the fleet for its repair capabilities, Frank Cable has been a stop for many repair and engineering Sailors during their naval career. The ship is currently home ported in Guam, which is an expensive trip for most people.

Luckily, a group of former Sailors in the Portland area caught up with the ship, walk up its passageways and take a journey down memory lane.

The crew of Frank Cable hosted a group of former Sailors and their families as the ship nears the end of its repair period at Vigor Shipyard, October 21.

Joseph Walter Hurt Jr. served as a machinery repairman aboard the Frank Cable from 1985 to 1987. This was his first time on board in 30 years.

“I forgot just how big this ship is,” said Hurt.

The tour began with an introduction by the ship’s Executive Officer Cmdr. Tony Pecoraro and a brief history the Frank Cable and submarine tenders. Afterwards, the group explored various parts of the ship including a damage control locker, machine shop, crew’s mess, and medical.

Military Sealift Command Civilian Mariners operate some of the departments on the ship. One of those departments is engineering, which includes the fire room where Nicholas Anderson served as a machinist mate a little over a decade ago.

“When I was here it was all Navy,” said Anderson. “I don’t know what anyone does now, it’s weird.”

The shop where Hurt worked is still in the same location it was during his time on the Frank Cable. When asked what he missed about the ship, the first thing that came to mind was the comradery he had with his shipmates, and the fun they had while underway.

“I came away with some good friends that I’m still associated with today,” said Hurt. “I remember in the machine shop, when the ship was underway, we used to put the chairs out and ride the waves as the ship rocked. There was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work.”

The end of the tour included a hike up to the 0-4 level to the ship’s bridge and a meeting with Frank Cable’s Commanding Officer Capt. Jeff Farah. Each guest was given a gift to commemorate their visit.

The tour was one of many tours for the Frank Cable this weekend. This one though, included some added sentimental value for these former Sailors. The memories they have were passed down to the next generation, like Hurt’s son, Machinist Mate First Class Walter Hurt, who now serves as a Frank Cable Sailor doing the same job in the same place that his father once called home.

Unfortunately, father and son couldn’t meet up this time. Walter is back in Guam while the ship is in a dry-dock maintenance availability. Wally said that he and his wife are looking into visiting Guam in the future to meet up with his son and visit the ship that was his home.

Frank Cable, currently in Portland, Ore., for a scheduled dry-dock maintenance availability, is home-ported in Guam and conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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